The Power of AND


You know how it is, you intend to work on a project, but you get stuck.
And it doesn’t happen today.

Inside your head, you’re saying things like:

  • I have to write that email, but I feel stuck and don’t know what to say.
  • I’m going to write that new article, but I feel tired and discouraged.
  • I’m going record a new video this week, but there are so many other things that need to be done.

When you read those, which part of the sentence seems to have more weight?  More power?

There are two approaches people often take in situations like these.

  1. They get stuck in the stuff.  The feelings, the old beliefs, the gunk weigh them down or loom too large to get around.  This leaves you feeling mired in the circumstances.
  1. They push down the stuff, bulldoze ahead despite whatever is going on.  This may look better in the short run because things are getting accomplished, goals are being met.  However, the forward motion comes at a price.  The feelings of stress build.  Health and peace may suffer.  The gunk doesn’t go away, it just goes underground.

There’s a better way.  A more empowering way.  It’s a little secret that can make a huge difference in helping you stick with your intentions while staying more clear and present.

I call it getting off your buts.  All you do is say “and” instead of “but”.

Check it out.  Say each of these – out loud:

  • I choose to write that email, and I feel stuck and don’t know what to say.  [Bonus tip – Let go of “having” to do something.  Choosing is far more powerful.]
  • I’m going to write that new article, and I feel tired and discouraged.
  • I’m going to record a new video this week, and there are so many other things that need to be done.

Feel the difference?

Do you breath a little more deeply with them than the earlier statements?  Feel a little less constricted?

With the first set of sentences, the second part – the “but” – is like a roadblock.  There’s already a sense of defeat.

With the second set, the second part of the sentence is an acknowledgement of what’s real and there, yet there’s more of a sense of balance, more possibility.

Reversing the order of the phrases tips the scale in favor of the intention – and paves the way for action.

  • I feel stuck and don’t know what to say, and I choose to write that email.
  • I feel tired and discouraged, and I’m going to write that new article.
  • There are so many other things that need to be done, and I’m going to record a new video this week.

This is because you’re holding the space for two things – feeling stuck AND writing the email, having a lot to do AND recording the video.

Acknowledging what’s there AND keeping an eye on your commitment is the balance between pushing thoughts and feelings down and wallowing or being stuck.

Here are some easy practices that can also help you get into action.

1) Set a timer for a task – and stick to it.  If you’re in the middle of a great run of ideas, get them down, then take a break when you reach a natural pause.  The important thing is to take a break.

This also helps when you have thoughts like, “This will never end.  I’ll be working on this forever.”  No, just for another 25 minutes.

 2) Celebrate what you’ve gotten done.  Don’t wait for a finished product.  Celebrate your progress.  Did you write 300 words?  Yay!!  Did you work for the 20 minutes you committed to?  Hooray!  Go, you!!

3) Fully focus.  Embrace your task at hand.  If you’re working on one project and have thoughts for another one, jot them down quickly and then go back to the first.  Keep at it for the time you’ve set.  Remember, you can get distracted and stay committed to your goal.

 4) When you take a break, really take a break.  Focus on your break.  Step away from your computer.  Move around.  Take that water and/or bathroom break you’ve been putting off.  Look out a window or step outside.  Embrace your break.  You’ll go back to work more energized and relaxed, which help the creative juices flow.

 5) Be accountable to someone.  It’s amazing how telling someone you’re going to do something gives it more weight.  It’s not about feeling guilty if you don’t do it.  It’s about declaring your intention.

 All of this – saying “and” instead of “but” and these practices – can make a big difference.  And if you’re still feeling stuck, remember, it’s just your old gunk getting in the way, and there are effective ways for dissolving it.

Comments 3

  1. This is a GREAT article, Sara! I’ve always enjoyed looking for a both/and instead of an either/or, but I’ve never thought of replacing “but” with “AND”. This is powerful – and yes – it does indeed open things up. energetically

    So I’m going to feel the overwhelm AND work through my pretty packed to-do list for tomorrow.

    Thank you for this. :))

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